September 7 marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Springfield Township resident, Margaret Tippen. Margaret was taking her morning walk when she was struck and killed by a driver who fell asleep while traveling 43 mph on Kier Road. Margaret’s family, led by her daughter Erin Hoffman and husband Dave Hoffman, want to see that nothing like this happens again.
Erin contacted Township Supervisor Laura Moreau in February to discuss what can be done to lower speed limits on gravel roads and efforts that can be made as a community to raise awareness for pedestrian safety. Erin is familiar with gravel roads having grown up in Springfield in a neighborhood off Bridge Lake Road. She now lives in Independence Township with her husband on Allen Road, another highly trafficked gravel road. Erin stated in her initial email to Supervisor Moreau that, “The dirt roads in both Independence and Springfield Townships are not farmlands with two families every mile, they truly are neighborhoods where many families walk and bike to enjoy the area.” The Springfield Township Board agrees with this viewpoint and is greatly concerned for safety on our rural roads. In the absence of sidewalks, residents of Springfield Township use local and primary gravel roads for walking, running, dog walking, and bicycling. Further, many of our roads have narrow lanes, curves, hills, and poor sight distance.
In Supervisor Moreau's initial meeting with Margaret Tippen’s family, they discussed ideas for public outreach, improved road signage, and support for new speed limit legislation currently being reviewed in the Michigan House of Representatives. They landed on the idea to hold a memorial walk; the purpose would not be to raise funds but to raise awareness. The aim is to educate citizens on how to safely share the road, with the hope that some attention to this issue might get motorists to slow down and drive more cautiously.
The Margaret Tippen Memorial Walk for Pedestrian Safety will take place on Saturday, September 30 beginning at 10:00 am. Click here for the event flyer and location map. The event will kick-off with a brief presentation to honor Margaret Tippen and promote safety best practices for pedestrians and motorists. Then participants will take a two-mile walk including portions of Bridge Lake and Kier Roads along Margaret’s daily route.
Representatives from SEMCOG will attend the event to promote their Walk.Bike.Drive.Safe campaign and to distribute safety lights and materials to participants. The event also is supported by the Road Commission for Oakland County, the Springfield Township Fire Department, and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Springfield Township Substation.
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